Alan Williams

Alan Williams Signs Two-Way Deal With Nets

SEPTEMBER 24: Williams’ two-way contract with the Nets is now official, the team confirmed today in a press release.

SEPTEMBER 14: The Nets will sign free agent center Alan Williams to a two-way contract, tweets ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

Williams spent his first three seasons with the Suns before being waived in July. He played just five games at the NBA level last year, spending most of his time in the G League. Williams appeared in 62 games during his time in Phoenix, averaging 6.4 PPG and 5.7 RPG.

Williams, who worked out for the Cavaliers last week, will be limited to 45 days in the NBA under the two-way deal. He will join an organization that has been looking for big men at the G League level.

The Nets still have their other two-way slot open, along with one more roster vacancy heading into camp.

Atlantic Notes: Knicks, Nets, Saric

It’s hard to be patient when building a team under the spotlight of New York City, Knicks president Steve Mills is acutely aware of just that. Still, after 45 years without a title and two particularly disappointing decades, the club is going to try it out.

I believe [Knicks] fans will accept a team that has a plan and you stick with it and if you deliver players, you do have some hope,” Mills told Steve Popper of Newsday. “[…] We think we have something we can see is different as long as we have the patience to stick to it.

Among other things, the Knicks will need to wait for Kristaps Porzingis to return from a knee injury months into the 2018/19 season and hope for progress out of raw 2017 lottery pick Frank Ntilikina.

There’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • The Nets have addressed their rebounding shortage with vigor. Chris Milholen of Nets Daily writes that the club’s acquisitions of Ed Davis, Kenneth Faried and now Alan Williams prove that they’re committed to improving that particular shortcoming.
  • It’s reasonable to assume that the Sixers envisioned Markelle Fultz as a starter when they drafted him. Derek Bodner of The Athletic writes that much-improved sophomore Dario Saric may need to return to the bench if that’s the case.
  • There are less than 10 days until training camp begins. Currently, two Atlantic Division teams have maxed out their rosters at 20. The Knicks, Raptors and 76ers all have one more space to fill. Check out our list of NBA roster counts for the rest of the league, broken down by team.

Atlantic Notes: Irving, Williams, Ojeleye, Celtics

Kyrie Irving tops the Knicks’ wish list in free agency next summer because he’s their most realistic target, A. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports Boston opines. Kevin Durant or Kawhi Leonard would elevate the franchise even more than Irving but both of those potential free agents would be much harder to land, Blakely continues. Securing Irving’s services won’t be easy, either, but the Knicks have a better chance with the Celtics point guard, who grew up in New Jersey. It’s not only his ability but potential availability that makes him attractive to the Knicks’ front office, Blakely adds. Blakely declared that Irving topped the Knicks’ wish list during a podcast this week.

We have more from around the Atlantic Division:

  • Bringing in Alan Williams is a low-risk flier for the Nets, Brian Lewis of the New York Post writes. The team has been stockpiling big men and rebounders and the 6’8” Williams fits both those categories, Lewis continues. It’s rare to land a fourth-year pro on a two-way contract who has averaged 15 rebounds per 36 minutes over his career, Lewis points out. Williams reached an agreement with Brooklyn on Friday.
  • Semi Ojeleye was probably the biggest beneficiary of Gordon Hayward’s injury last season but he hasn’t established a steady spot in the Celtics rotation, Blakely examines in a player profile. While Ojeleye has shown the ability to defend multiple frontcourt positions and switch out on guards, he’ll simply have to be ready to contribute any way he can with the return of Hayward, Blakely adds. Ojeleye appeared in 73 regular -season games last season.
  • With the return of Hayward and Irving from injuries, it’s tough to find any reason why the Celtics won’t roll to the Eastern Conference title, Chris Mannix of Yahoo Sports opines. The team’s closest competitors – Toronto, Milwaukee and Philadelphia – can’t match the Celtics’ depth and overall talent, Mannix continues. Even the team’s projected second unit of Terry RozierMarcus SmartJaylen BrownMarcus Morris and Daniel Theis could compete for a playoff spot, Mannix notes.

Cavs Work Out Tyler Ulis, Alan Williams, Others

SEPTEMBER 6: The Cavaliers worked out a few more free agents today, according to Michael Scotto of The Athletic, who tweets that Kobi Simmons, Brandon Paul, and Rodney Purvis all earned a look from Cleveland as well. Simmons, Paul, and Purvis played for the Grizzlies, Spurs, and Magic, respectively, in 2017/18.

SEPTEMBER 5: A group of veteran free agents worked out for the Cavaliers today, sources tell Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype (Twitter link). According to Kennedy, Tyler Ulis, Alan Williams, JaKarr Sampson, and Marcus Georges-Hunt were among the players to participate in the audition.

It’s not clear if the Cavaliers are seeking depth at a particular position and looking to fill out their 15-man regular season roster, or if they’re simply familiarizing themselves with the various options remaining on the free agent market.

Cleveland only has 12 players on guaranteed contracts, but has a reported agreement in place with David Nwaba and seems likely to eventually re-sign Rodney Hood too, so there may not be more than a single open spot available on the regular season roster.

All four players named by Kennedy appeared in NBA games last season. Ulis played 71 games (43 starts) for the Suns before being waived in June; Sampson appeared in 22 contests for the Kings on a two-way contract; Williams returned from a knee injury to play five games at the end of the season for the Suns before being cut in July; and Georges-Hunt saw limited minutes off the bench in 42 games for the Timberwolves.

Free Agent Rumors: Crawford, Ellington, Bjelica, Williams

The Sixers are interested in veteran free agent guard Jamal Crawford, Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports. Crawford could fortify a bench that has lost Ersan Ilyasovaand Marco Belinelli since the start of free agency. Crawford, 38, averaged 10.3 PPG in 20.7 MPG for the Timberwolves last season. The Pelicans, Cavaliers, Warriors and Nuggets are also reportedly in the mix for Crawford, who opted out of his contract with Minnesota and left $4.54MM on the table.

In other news regarding the free agent market:

  • Unrestricted free agent shooting guard Wayne Ellington has drawn significant interest but he’s viewed as a good bet to re-sign with the Heat, Jordan Schultz of Yahoo Sports tweets. Miami has a cap hold of $8.15MM on Ellington, who appeared in 77 games and averaged 11.2 PPG in 26.5 MPG while shooting 39.2% from long range.
  • The Jazz have a strong interest in Nemanja Bjelica, Tony Jones of the Salt Lake Tribune tweets. The Timberwolves pulled their qualifying offer to the power forward in order to sign Anthony Tolliver, thus making Bjelica an unrestricted free agent.
  • The Knicks are interested in Alan Williams if he clears waivers, according to Marc Berman of the New York Post. The Suns waived the power forward/center on Monday. The Knicks have also reached out to free agent power forwards Amir Johnson and Trevor Booker, Berman adds.
  • Williams hasn’t ruled out a return to the Suns but his agent has already heard from a handful of teams interested in his services, according to Scott Bordow of the Arizona Republic. Williams, who appeared in only five games last season due to a knee injury, had a non-guaranteed salary of $5.5MM for next season and will likely get through waivers.
  • The Lakers have renounced their free-agent exception rights to guard Andre Ingram and power forward Travis Wear, according to the RealGM transactions log. The Lakers had a cap hold of $1.338MM on Ingram and $1.5MM on Wear. Ingram appeared in two games with Los Angeles last season, while Wear saw action in 17 games.
  • The Suns renounced their free-agent exception rights to center Alex Len, according to the RealGM transaction log. The Suns had a $7.96MM cap hold on Len. He appeared in 69 games last season but became expendable when they drafted Deandre Ayton.

Suns Waive Alan Williams

4:17pm: The move is official, with the Suns issuing a press release to announce that they’ve waived Williams.

12:19pm: The Suns are waiving big man Alan Williams, reports John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7 (Twitter link). Williams will become an unrestricted free agent if and when he clears waivers.

Williams, 25, played well for the Suns in 2016/17, averaging 7.4 PPG and 6.2 RPG in just 15.1 minutes per contest (47 games). His performance earned him a three-year, $16MM+ deal with Phoenix last summer, though only the first year’s salary was fully guaranteed.

Williams’ 2017/18 season was derailed before it began, as a meniscus injury sidelined him for nearly the entire year. He appeared in just five games for the Suns down the stretch.

By waiving Williams, the Suns will no longer be on the hook for his $5.52MM salary for 2018/19. According to Basketball Insiders’ data, the language in the contract called for a $1MM partial guarantee if Williams met certain minute, weight, and body fat requirements, but considering he only played 70 minutes in 2017/18, he presumably didn’t meet those criteria.

Williams’ release will create enough cap room for the Suns to finalize Trevor Ariza‘s reported one-year, $15MM deal, but not much beyond that. By my count, if Phoenix also cuts Shaquille Harrison, who has a non-guaranteed salary, the team could get up to about $4MM in space after signing Ariza.

According to Scott Bordow of The Arizona Republic (via Twitter), the Suns haven’t ruled out the possibility of re-signing Williams to a smaller deal after he clears waivers.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Suns May Renounce Elfrid Payton, Alex Len, Others

The Suns are ready to make aggressive moves in free agency, but not without a little house cleaning first, according to Scott Bordow of The Arizona Republic.

Look for Phoenix to maximize its cap room by shedding some unwanted salary, Bordow writes, with free agents Elfrid Payton and Alex Len both likely to be renounced. Payton’s performance was uneven after coming to the Suns in a midseason trade and he carries a $10MM cap hold. Len became expendable with the addition of No. 1 pick Deandre Ayton.

Those moves would give the team about $10MM for the free agent market, but the Suns are thinking bigger. Bordow expects them to cut ties with center Alan Williams, who has a non-guaranteed $5.52MM salary for next season. They may try to re-sign him or trade him to a team that can afford him more easily.

Other non-guaranteed contracts that might get discarded belong to Tyler Ulis ($1.54MM) and Shaquille Harrison ($1.38MM), while Davon Reed has a $1.38MM deal with a $689,212 guarantee. The deadline to decide on Ulis’ deal is tomorrow.

With up to $20MM available to chase free agents, Phoenix will focus on finding a point guard and a power forward who can defend and shoot from the outside.

Bordow lists the Clippers’ Patrick Beverley, the Celtics’ Marcus Smart, the Bulls’ Zach LaVine, the Raptors’ Fred VanVleet and the Jazz’ Dante Exum as potential backcourt targets, while Utah’s Derrick Favors, Houston’s Trevor Ariza or Luc Mbah a Moute, Milwaukee’s Jabari Parker, Indiana’s Thaddeus Young, San Antonio’s Rudy Gay or Philadelphia’s Ersan Ilyasova could fit the four spot. If the Suns find a power forward, Bordow expects them to explore trading either Dragan Bender or Marquese Chriss.

Suns Rumors: Bridges, Free Agency, Coaches, Williams

The addition of Mikal Bridges gives the Suns a logjam at the forward spots and they still need to address their point guard situation, Scott Bordow of the Arizona Republic writes.

After the draft-night trade with the Sixers to acquire Bridges’ rights, the Suns now have five recent first-rounders – Josh JacksonT.J. WarrenDragan Bender and Marquese Chriss being the others – angling for playing time in the frontcourt. GM Ryan McDonough said he might add a stretch four in free agency, Bordow continues, so they could use that depth in a trade, with Chriss and Warren the most likely to be dealt.

Despite selecting Frenchman Elie Okobo with the first pick of the second round, the Suns still need another veteran at that spot, and McDonough confirmed they could pursue a floor leader in free agency, Bordow adds.

We have more on the Suns:

  • The Suns consider Bridges a “special player” and that’s why they were willing to deal the No. 16 pick and the Heat’s unprotected 2021 first-rounder for him, Bob Baum of the Associated Press reports. ‘‘We weighed the pros and cons of trading it heavily and carefully,” McDonough said. ”We were only going to put it in play if we had a chance to get a special player and that’s how we feel about Mikal.”
  • With $15-$20MM available to pursue free agents, the Suns will be proactive in free agency, Baum adds in the same piece. ‘We’re going to continue to be aggressive for the next couple of weeks in free agency,” McDonough said. “We’ve got some money to spend and we’re looking to spend it on the best players we can get.”
  • Joe Prunty, Corliss Williamson, Jamelle McMillan, Jason Staudt and Cody Toppert have officially signed up as assistants for new head coach Igor Kokoskov, Bordow tweets.
  • It’s hard to imagine the Suns will retain center Alan Williams on his current deal, Bordow adds in another tweet. Williams, whose $5.52MM salary is not guaranteed, would get a full guarantee if he’s still on the roster through July 6. He’d be a third-string center behind Deandre Ayton and Tyson Chandler if he sticks.

Injury Notes: Ajinca, Neto, Ross, Morris, Williams

A lost season for Alexis Ajinca went from bad to worse this week, as the Pelicans big man underwent surgery on his left patellar tendon, according to the team (Twitter link). The procedure was successful and Ajinca is on track to recover in four to six months, which would allow him to return for the start of the 2018/19 season. However, it must have been a frustrating development for Ajinca, who underwent the same procedure on his right patellar tendon in December.

Here are a few more injury updates from across the NBA:

  • Jazz point guard Raul Neto remains sidelined with a left wrist fracture and will be re-evaluated one week from today, the Jazz announced in a press release. Dante Exum‘s return and solid play have allowed Utah to cope with Neto’s absence without any major trouble.
  • Injured Magic swingman Terrence Ross continues to recover from a bone bruise he suffered around the All-Star break, and may not make it back onto the court before season’s end. According to Josh Robbins of The Orlando Sentinel (Twitter link), head coach Frank Vogel said today that it’s probably unlikely that Ross plays another game this season.
  • Already hit hard by the injury bug, the Celtics saw Marcus Morris leave Monday’s game in the fourth quarter due to a sprained right ankle. As an ESPN report details, X-rays came back negative, so Morris may not be looking at an extended absence — that would be a relief for the C’s, who could use some good injury news.
  • After missing nearly the entire 2017/18 season with a knee injury, Suns big man Alan Williams returned to action on Monday night, putting up three points and five rebounds in 16 minutes. Williams has a non-guaranteed $5.52MM salary for 2018/19, so team management will want to take a close look at him down the stretch this season.

NBA G League Assignments/Recalls: 3/25/18

Here are Sunday’s G League assignments and recalls from around the NBA:

  • The Rockets have recalled center Zhou Qi from the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle tweets. The 7’1” center has made 14 brief appearances with the Rockets this season. He’s averaging 11.0 PPG, 6.3 RPG and 2.3 BPG in G League play.
  • The Raptors recalled forward Nigel Hayes from their Raptors 905 affiliate, the team’s media relations staff tweets. Hayes has appeared in 43 G League games this season, averaging 15.0 PPG and 6.1 RPG. He’s also made two cameo appearances for Toronto, which signed him to a second 10-day contract on March 16th.
  • The Timberwolves recalled rookie center Justin Patton from their Iowa affiliate, according to Jerry Zgoda of the Minneapolis Star Tribune. The 7-footer averaged 12.7 PPG, 5.4 RPG and 1.4 BPG for the Iowa Wolves, who did not qualify for the G League playoffs. Patton has yet to make his NBA debut.
  • The Warriors recalled Damian Jones from the Santa Cruz Warriors, the team announced in a press release. The center has averaged 15.0 points and 8.1 boards in 44 games with the affiliate. Also, two-way forward Chris Boucher has also been recalled from Santa Cruz. He appeared in one game with the Warrior.
  • The Suns recalled veteran big man Alan Williams from their G League affiliate, the Northern Arizona Suns, as part of his rehab process in returning from a torn right meniscus, per an official press release.